Wildfires continue to spread all over the United States, including Utah, Wyoming, Idaho, and Alaska. Thousands of acres have burned, and many have been evacuated or lost their homes.
Utah, Tooele: On Tuesday night, county and city firefighters responded to 911 calls about a growing blaze. They got crews’ help from neighboring communities. When they reached the scene, in the area of 600 South and Coleman Street (about 600 West), they found flames NIL many homes.
At least ten houses and a handful of cars were destroyed, and a dozen was evacuated. As of Wednesday, about 40 residents were being assisted with shelter, clothing, and food by the Utah Red Cross.
One of the affected is Javier Cortez, who has a family of six. He told Salt Lake City news station KUTV that his family tried to control the flames by using a hose to wet their home surroundings, but they were forced to run from the fire. The flames were also responsible for an electrical service outage that affected more than 2,600 customers, according to Rocky Mountain Power.
Chris Shubert, Tooele Fire Department spokesman, claimed that three firefighters were treated for smoke inhalation; however, no serious injuries were reported. Tooele Fire Chief Bucky Whitehouse and Deputy State Fire Marshal Brian Thatcher said the fire origin was suspicious and confirmed fire and police investigators were looking at a possible criminal arson case.
Meanwhile, in western Wyoming, new forest fires have ignited, burning about twelve square miles in the Bridger-Teton National Forest and closing U.S. 191/189, a route heavily used by travelers heading to Yellowstone National Park and the region of Jackson Hole, where the resort town of Jackson and Grand Teton National Park are located.
Firefighters are using tankers dropping retardant and helicopters dropping water, trying to prevent the fire from spreading to the north and west. To the north, the blazes are threatening a hot springs pool area, summer homes, and a wilderness education camp. Approximately seventy people have been evacuated.
In the Bridger-Teton National Forest, a massive wildfire has tripled its size, urging a Type 2 Incident Management Team is in place, headed by Commander Tony DeMasters. The blaze, started by a lightning strike, has reached 7,671 acres — 12 square miles — acres and has not been contained at all.
— Bridger Teton NF (@BridgerTetonNF) July 20, 2016
There are over 400 firefighters on the scene, including two Type 1 helicopters, and two Type 3 helicopters. The personnel is trying to protect the Granite Creek drainage structures, an area that was already evacuated. The weather forecast won’t help the firefighters: Hot, dry and breezy conditions will prevail, and according to the latest incident report from the U.S. Forest Service, the wildfire is projected to grow even more.
If the winds move the fire to the north and northeast, it will reach the Antoinette and Pyramid peaks where it will eventually run out of fuel above timberline. However, if the winds spread the flames toward Cache Creek, which mean, they will rapidly reach the town of Jackson.
Ronda Bishop, Public Information Officer for the Cliff Creek Fire Incident Command Team, stated: “I’m 100 percent confident they have been discussing the scenario, every situation”. Highway 89/191 remains closed between Stinking Springs (5 miles south of Hoback Junction) and Daniel.
In Idaho, firefighters are battling a fast-moving wildfire that has reached 4,446-acres and could spread toward Rocky Canyon Road depending on the wind’s direction. The human-caused fire started Tuesday and has grown very quickly, so far destroying a barn and two smaller structures. However, on Wednesday, Boise County issued a warning to residents of the Robie Creek area to be ready in case evacuations are ordered. So far no road closures have been ordered.
Personnel has managed to contain the blaze to a 50 percent, according to the Bureau of Land Management. At the same time, 2,500 customers from Warm Springs up to Idaho City lost power overnight thanks to the flames, said Idaho Power. Nicole Sirak-Irwin, CEO of the American Red Cross of Idaho and Montana released a statement announcing they were on standby to open shelters, “we are mobilizing our trained volunteers in the area and repositioning to respond to this emergency.”
— Alaska Region (@AKForestService) July 20, 2016
In Alaska, another wildfire is threatening homes and is thought to be man-made, whether by accident or arson. According to fire incident commander Tom Kurth, there are no immediate plans for evacuations but warns residents near the fires to be ready to leave their homes quickly.
150 firefighters are battling the fire in an area heavily used for outdoor recreation and, and is estimated that about half a square mile spruce trees were burning or had burned.
Source: Fox News